FAA to Football Fans: Super Bowl Is a No-Drone Zone


On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a 15-second warning to football fans eager to sneak a bird’s-eye look at this Sunday’s Super Bowl: Leave your drones at home.  

The No Drone Zone campaign is part of the FAA’s ongoing efforts to regulate small drones flying over crowded stadiums. The Washington Post reported last November that the aviation agency was investigating a rash of incidents involving drones hovering over major sporting events. A month earlier, the agency extended its ban on airplane flights over large open-air stadiums to include unmanned and remote controlled aircraft. 

Drones over sporting events have occasionally raised alarms. In August, a man was detained after he flew a drone that flew over a preseason NFL game between the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs. A month later, police questioned a University of Texas student who was flying a drone around Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Last October, a drone carrying an Albanian flag during a soccer match between Serbia and Albania sparked a riot in Belgrade.

Earlier this month, the FAA issued an advisory reiterating the civil and criminal penalties for pilots who drone the Super Bowl. (Also banned in the airspace above the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona: gliders, parachutes, hang gliders, balloons, crop dusters, model aircraft, and model rockets.) The Goodyear blimp will be allowed.

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